New Mexico

Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
NM Early Childhood Education and Care Fund Dedicated Funding Streams Oil and Gas Revenue

Fund allocates resources to a variety of programs, including early learning facilities, health services, family support, and professional development for educators

In 2022, New Mexico passed House Bill 83, which established the Early Childhood Education and Care Fund, an investment of $300 million in the state's future through early childhood development and education. This endowment is managed by the State Investment Council. In FY 2022, the Fund distributed $20 million to the Early Childhood Education & Care Department (ECECD). In FY 2023, the fund began distributing $30 million annually, or 5 percent of its three-year average, to the ECECD. The fund is dedicated to enhancing the quality and accessibility of early childhood services for children from birth to age five. It allocates resources to a variety of programs, including early learning facilities, health services, family support, and professional development for educators. Specifically, the funds go toward improving existing child care and early education centers, developing new facilities, and ensuring that educators are well-trained to provide high-quality early childhood experiences.

Learn More: Early Childhood Education and Care Fund

Sources:

https://www.sic.state.nm.us/investments/permanent-funds/early-childhood-education-and-care-fund/

https://www.governor.state.nm.us/2020/02/18/governor-creates-early-childhood-trust-fund/

https://nmchildrenstrust.org/

Competitive Pay for Professionals (CPP) Workforce Pay Increases

$3/hour raise for early education staff, including educators, administrators, food services staff, and others

Announced in November 2022, New Mexico’s Competitive Pay for Professionals (CPP) program provides a $3-per-hour pay increase for all eligible child care employees, including educators, administrative staff, food services staff, and others with an active background clearance. Licensed centers and homes providing child care services, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and Tribal Child Care and Development Block Grant funded programs are eligible to participate in the program, which will reach an estimated 16,000+ early education staff across the state. The program was initially funded using $77 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars.

Learn More: Competitive Pay for ​Professionals Grant Opportunity

Sources:

New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department. (2022). Competitive Pay for ​Professionals (CPP) Grant Opportunity.

New Mexico PreK (NM PreK) Expansion Universal Pre-K Policy (3-Year-Olds) Universal Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)

Percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 42%

Percentage of 3-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 11%

Minimum hours of operation: 3 hours/day; 5 days/week

Launched in 2005, New Mexico’s prekindergarten program served 11% of 3-year-olds and 42% of 4-year-olds in the 2021-2022 school year. The program enrolled 12,567 children in 2021-2022, an increase of 2,179 from the prior year. While eligibility is not determined by income, two-thirds of children enrolled at each program must live in the attendance zone of a Title I elementary school. Programs are funded through an application and grant process.  

New Mexico PreK is funded by a competitive application and grant process. Funds are supported by a constitutional amendment, which New Mexico voters approved in 2022, that increased the distribution from the Land Grant Permanent Fund by 1.25%. Sixty percent of this increase provides $140 million annually to the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD). In FY 2024, New Mexico will spend $98 million on preschool expansion. Through this investment, over 3,000 more slots for children will be created, including 554 new slots in tribal pre-K programs as part of the White House’s efforts to expand pre-K programs through intergovernmental agreements. 

In December 2022, New Mexico was awarded a federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B–5) renewal grant for $10 million. Funds from this award will be used to support continued expansion across the state.

Learn More: New Mexico NIEER Profile

Sources:

At White House, governor highlights New Mexico’s early childhood education improvements. (2023). NM Political Report.

NIEER Declares New Mexico a National Leader in PreK (2023). National Institute for Early Education Research.

New Mexico Cost Estimation Model Cost Estimation for Determining Subsidy Rates

New Mexico uses a cost estimation model as part of its 2022-2024 Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan

In 2020 and 2021, New Mexico's new Early Childhood Education and Care Department partnered with consultants to better understand the cost of programs serving its youngest citizens. It developed a cost estimation model including factors related to QRIS rating, centers and home-based-settings, and age groups. New Mexico was the only state to seek approval for an alternative methodology in its Child Care Development Fund plan for 2022–24.

Learn more: child care and development fund (CCDF)

Source:

New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (2022). Understanding the cost of quality care in New Mexico.

Bilingual Incentive Workforce Bonuses and Supplemental Pay

$1,500 per educator (per language)

Launched in November 2021, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD)’s bilingual incentive program provides a one-time payment of $1,500 to early education professionals who have bilingual proficiency. This incentive responds to the growing need for early education staff who speak a language other than English. Staff are eligible for an additional payment for each additional language for which they are certified as proficient. The bilingual incentive payment program is open to all early childhood educators who provide direct support to children from birth to age 5 and who are currently working within a:

  • New Mexico licensed or registered childcare setting;
  • Tribal child care program;
  • New Mexico Pre-K or Early Pre-K program in a community-based setting;
  • New Mexico Pre-K or Early Pre-K program authorized by a public school or charter including Title I or 619 Preschool Program;
  • New Mexico Head Start or Early Head Start program;
  • New Mexico Tribal Head Start or Early Head Start program; state-funded New Mexico Home Visiting program; state-funded New Mexico Family Infant Toddler (FIT)-Early Intervention Program
Learn More: Bilingual Incentive Program

Sources:

New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department. (2021). Bilingual Incentive Program.

NM Pre-K Pay Parity Workforce Pay Increases Pay Scales and Parity

Educators’ pay will increase to approximately $50,000 – $70,000 annually

Announced in September 2021, the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) Pre-K Pay Parity Program ensures state-funded community-based pre-K educators and directors are compensated at a level comparable to pre-K teachers working in the public schools. The program covers the difference between the New Mexico Public Education Department base amount and an educator or director's annual salary. To be eligible for this program, educators and directors must:

  • Serve in a New Mexico-funded Pre-K, Early pre-K, or Mixed-Age pre-K program in a community-based setting and
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or higher in early childhood education, early childhood multicultural education, or another degree + alternative licensure/18+ credit hours in early childhood education
  • Individuals who meet the above requirements are assigned a category depending upon their education and work experience. This category determines the base compensation amount:
  • Category 1: Bachelor’s degree with 0-3 year’s work experience | $50,000 base salary
  • Category 2: Bachelor’s degree with more than 3 year’s work experience | $60,000 base salary
  • Category 3: Master’s or doctoral degree with at least five year’s work experience | $70,000 base salary
Learn More: New Mexico Pre-K Pay Parity

Sources:

New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department. (n.d.). Pre-K Parity Information.

NM Early Childhood Education and Care Fund Dedicated Funding Streams Oil and Gas Revenue

The fund allocates approximately $150 million to early education each year

In 2021, the New Mexico Legislature passed a joint resolution to allow voters to determine, via a constitutional amendment, whether the state should increase annual distributions from its multibillion-dollar Land Grant Permanent Fund and spend a portion of the new funding on early childhood care and education services. The amendment passed with 70% voter approval.

The annual allocation for early education and care in the state is approximately $150 million. This dedicated funding stream builds on a decade of advocacy; New Mexico Voices for Children initially proposed the Land Grant fund in 2011 and tried every year thereafter to pass the legislation.

Learn More: How Grassroots Activists Got Early Childhood Education Aid on the Ballot in New Mexico
NM Early Childhood Education and Care Department Infrastructure Systems Administrative + Governance Models

Created a new department of early childhood

In March 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB 22 into law, establishing the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department, a cabinet-level state agency charged with overseeing early childhood programs across the state. After a transitional period, the new department launched officially in July 2020.

The state then enacted a $109 million expansion of New Mexico PreK to improve pre-K teacher compensation, increase instructional hours, and expand access to pre-K for thousands of children across the state. As a result, pre-K enrollment grew from 10,989 children in fiscal year 2019 to 14,183 in fiscal year 2022. During this time, the state also expanded the Child Care Assistance Program, doubling the eligibility threshold for families from 200 percent to as much as 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

The creation of a new department does not automatically create better outcomes for children, but it can help provide the structure and coordination needed to improve early education quality and accessibility across a state or city (Kagan & Gomez, 2015).

Learn More: New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department

Source:
National Conference of State Legislatures (2022). Early Childhood: What's Governance Got to Do With It?
New Mexico Legislature (2019) SB 22
Brookings Institute (April 2023). New Mexico’s early childhood education amendment is a model for economic mobility other states should consider.
Forbes (2022) For Child Care Gains; Look to States, Not the Feds.
Kagan, L. and Gomez, R. (Eds.). (2015) Early Childhood Governance: Choices and Consequences. Teachers College Press.

New Mexico Early Childhood Integrated Data System Infrastructure Systems Data Systems

Early Childhood Integrated Data System

Founded in 2016, the New Mexico Public Education Department's (NMPED) New Mexico Early Childhood Integrated Data Systemfunctions as a warehouse for state early childhood programs and policies. The system stores and integrates demographic, program, workforce, and individual data across the three agencies of NMPED; Child, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD); and the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH). The system deidentifies individual data by providing a unique identifier to each child.

Starting in 2023, the New Mexico Department of Early Childhood Education and Care will be collaborating with three other state agencies to use this data to contribute to the state’s new P-20 integrated data system, Research Informing Success in Education (RISE) New Mexico.

The system has been funded by the federal Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and Preschool Development Grant Birth Through 5 (PDG B-5).

The new RISE New Mexico system has been funded by $4.25 million from the 2022 legislative session (state appropriates), 2 million in federal omnibus spending bills, grants, public entities, and NGOs since its inception in 2021.

Learn More: The New Mexico Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS)

Other Sources:
New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department. (2021). Annual Outcomes Report.
Research Informing Success in Education NM (2023). RISE NM

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Demographics Link copied!

Demographics Data Scorecard

State population

2,113,344 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

25.5% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

74.5% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children 0–4

115,008 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels - children 0—8 below 200% poverty

51% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$58,700.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

3.9% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

7% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

N/A, for most states between 65%-75% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

26% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Child Population by Race and Ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (10%)
  • Asian (1%)
  • Black or African American (2%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (62%)
  • Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (0.49%)
  • Two or more races (3%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (23%)
Year 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Governor D D D D D
State House D D D D D
State Senate D D D D D

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023

Public Pre-K Program Name

NM PreK Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or Targeted Pre-K Policy

Transitioning from Targeted to Universal Pre-K Policy (3- and 4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs (3-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

Programs

  • Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs (11%)
  • 3-Year-old Children Enrolled in Head Start (14%)
  • Other/None (75%)

Early Childhood Education Programs (4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

Programs

  • Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs (42%)
  • 4-Year-old Children Enrolled in Head Start (12%)
  • Other/None (46%)

Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020

Role

  • Child Care Workers
    $10.10 (2017, adjusted)
    $10.00 (2019)
  • Preschool Teachers
    $13.48 (2017, adjusted)
    $13.66 (2019)
  • Preschool or Child Care Center Directors
    $20.78 (2017, adjusted)
    $24.69 (2019)

Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in Millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding Source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($102.0)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($65.2)
  • CCDBG State Match ($2.7)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations - CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($431.6)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($92.7)
  • MIECHV ($3.5)
  • IDEA Part C ($4.0)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($4.9)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care ($104.6)